Neymar-less Brazil defeats Venezuela 2-0 in Merida

Brazil now leads the 2018 World Cup South American qualifying group

Brazil went top of the 2018 World Cup South American qualifying group after beating Venezuela 2-0 at the Metropolitano stadium in Merida. The Samba Boys were without Barcelona ace Neymar who was suspended for the fixture. Tha match was played in torrential rain which was also interrupted by floodlight fails for approximately 20 minutes.

Gabriel Jesus gave Brazil the lead in the 8th minute when he chipped Daniel Hernandez from outside the box. The Venezuela goalie misplaced a pass which was cleverly intercepted by the Palmeiras wonderkid who then went on to find the back of the net. Chelsea winger Willian snuck in at the back post to finish off a low cross from Renato Augusto in the 53rd minute. The 28-year-old’s goal gave Brazil a 2-goal cushion. Rafael Dudamel coached Venezuela tried to make a comeback but lacked the creativity and inspiration to match their fancy counterparts.

The match was also halted for a little more than 20 minutes due to floodlights fail at the Metropolitano stadium in Merida. In the 73rd minute, stadium floodlights suddenly switched off and the crowd were left clueless. The players left the stadium only to reappear in training kits until frantic engineers managed to sort things out. The match resumed to cheers from the crowd but the momentum of the game was lost. Players from both the outfits took some time to settle in before having a go at their opponents. The fixture eventually ended in 2-0 in favour of Brazil.

Goals from Jesus and Willian ensured that coach Tite maintained his perfect record. The 55-year-old registered his fourth win in as many games having replaced Dunga as Brazil manager in July this year. Tite has been influential ever since his appointment. He has constantly given opportunities to youngsters and has benched celebrated footballers now and then. Meanwhile, Brazil remains on course to maintain their clean record of never having failed to qualify for a FIFA World Cup.

Brazil will come up against arch-rivals Argentina next. The absence of Neymar was still felt by Brazil as the Samba boys tried to cope with a stubborn Venezuela defence. While Neymar will return to start against Argentina, Messi’s services will be missed. The contest is expected to be a thrilling encounter, one that will surely excite millions of fans worldwide.